6 Easy Chicken Marinades

6-easy-chicken-marinades

Dry, tasteless chicken-no-more! Use one of these flavorful chicken marinades to infuse flavor into your chicken. You’ll never go back to plain, boring chicken again.

I grew up eating Italian-marinated chicken almost weekly as a kid. My mom would marinate chicken breasts in store-bought Italian dressing and then bake it. So simple and such a great way to add flavor to chicken!

Today we’re sharing 6 homemade chicken marinades to give you the best tasting chicken you’ve ever eaten. Enjoy!

What is a chicken marinade?

A chicken marinade is a combination of herbs, spices, oil, and other flavor add-ins that you use to flavor chicken with. Think of it like a sauce that infuses flavor into your meat.

Well, what about a dry rub? Dry rubs typically flavor the outside of your meat, but a marinade is going to flavor the entire cut of chicken. Sometimes, we like to use a combination of both!

Why marinate your chicken?

We recommend marinating your chicken not only to infuse the entire thing with flavor, but to make it extra tender and juicy.

Like we mentioned above, marinades really do add so much body and flavor to the ENTIRE cut of meat.

How long should I marinate my chicken?

The short answer is: the longer the better! We actually recommend marinating your chicken for 12-24 hours to really get that flavor infusion.

Don’t have that much time? Anything over an hour works too, it just may not be as flavorful.

How much marinade do I need per 1 lb. of chicken?

Per 1 to 1.5 lbs. of chicken, you’ll need around 1/2 cup of marinade. So, feel free to double or triple any of these marinades to flavor more chicken.

What cuts of chicken can I marinate?

Any cut of chicken can be marinated: chicken breasts, chicken legs, chicken thighs, and whole chickens!

What should I marinate my chicken in?

When it comes time to actually marinating your poultry, pretty much any container large enough to house your chicken works! Here are our top 3 choices.

  1. Casserole dish: we love using a simple casserole dish because it makes for easy baking when it’s time to cook!
  2. Gallon-size plastic bag: planning to freeze your marinated chicken? Use a plastic bag as your vessel for marinating.
  3. Glass container or bowl: don’t have either of the above? Any glass container or bowl will work!

How do I cook marinated chicken?

Pretty much any cooking method is fair game. We’re linking to some of our basic chicken breast recipes below so you can learn how to easily cook your marinated chicken.

How to Freeze Marinated Chicken

Freezing marinated chicken is one of our secret meal-prep tips! Simply place your chicken in a large, gallon-size bag and then add the marinade. Remove as much air as possible and then seal the bag shut. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

PS: there is no need to let your chicken marinate for the full 24 hours before freezing. It will marinate as it freezes and as it thaws!

How to cook frozen marinated chicken

We get this question all. the. time. Unfortunately, we don’t ever recommend cooking chicken from a frozen state unless you use an Instant Pot. Follow that recipe HERE.

For the best results and to avoid any kind of food born illness, let your marinated chicken completely thaw before following of the above cook methods.

And now, please enjoy 6 of our go-to chicken breast marinade recipes! Because I know you’re curious, my personal favorite is the teriyaki 😛

Chicken Fajita Marinade

Looking for chicken fajita marinade that’s super simple to put together yet packs in all the classic fajita flavors? You’ll love this chicken marinade as it’s made with a mixture of olive oil, spices, lime juice, and fresh cilantro!

What you need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro 

Lemon Chicken Marinade

This lemon chicken marinade is light, fresh, and made with lemon juice, dill, garlic, and olive oil. It’s a winner every time!

What you need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill 
  • 1/2 tablespoon white rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

BBQ Chicken Marinade

There is nothing better than saucy BBQ chicken. Follow this easy bbq chicken marinade recipe and mix your favorite bbq sauce with savory spices and a little olive oil!

What You Need

  • 1/4 olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

Teriyaki Chicken Marinade

Say hello to the greatest teriyaki chicken marinade you’ve ever tasted. Our homemade teriyaki sauce is made with 7 simple ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. PS: it’s made without refined sugars, too!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 

Italian Chicken Marinade

This Italian chicken marinade is such a great all-purpose marinade to make for any meal. It’s made with fresh and dried herbs, lemon, and olive oil. You’ll never buy store-bought Italian marinade again!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 

Balsamic Chicken Marinade

We love this balsamic chicken marinade so much because it keeps things simple with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic, and fresh basil. Yum!

What You Need

  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 

6 Easy Chicken Marinade Recipes

Dry, tasteless chicken-no-more! Use one of these flavorful and healthy chicken marinades to infuse flavor into your chicken. You’ll never go back to plain, boring chicken again.

Prep: 12 hoursCook: 0 minutesTotal: 12 hours

Carbs 3 Protein 26

Yield 4–6 1x

Ingredients

Fajita

  • 1–1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper  
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro 

Lemon 

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill 
  • 1/2 tablespoon white rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

BBQ

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 

Teriyaki

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion 
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 

Italian

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 

Balsamic

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 

Instructions

  1. Choose a chicken marinade flavor and place all ingredients (minus the chicken breast) into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place chicken breast into a glass container or gallon-size bag. Then, pour the marinade on top of the chicken, making sure it is covered.
  3. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or for best results, overnight. 

Tips & Notes

  • Each of these chicken breast marinade recipes is enough marinade for 1 to 1.5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breast.
  • Nutrition information is for the lemon chicken marinade with 1.5 lbs. of chicken breast serving 6 people.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/6 Calories: 201 Sugar: 2 Carbohydrates: 3 Fiber: 0 Protein: 26

Author: Lee FunkeCategory: MarinadeMethod: No-BakeCuisine: American

Keywords: chicken breast marinade, chicken marinade

About Lee Funke

Lee is the founder of Fit Foodie Finds and based in Minneapolis, MN. She started this website in 2010 as a way to share her love for real food and wellness.

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